The Poetry Society’s annual National Poetry Competition is for previously unpublished single poems and has a first prize of £5,000.
The competition is now open for entries!
First prize: £5000
Second prize: £2000
Third prize: £1000
Seven commendations: £200 each
Winning poems are published on The Poetry Society website, and the top three in The Poetry Review. Winners are invited to read at events and festivals all around the country, including Ledbury Poetry Festival. Up to 150 longlisted entrants will also be offered discount on selected activities from The Poetry Society, and one of our competition partners the Poetry School.
Moniza Alvi, Gerry Cambridge and Jack Underwood.
31 October 2016
We recommend all entrants read the rules carefully before entering. If you have any questions please see our Frequently Asked Questions page.
- The competition is open to anyone aged 17 or over at the time of entering. International entries are welcome.
- The closing date of the competition is midnight (UK time), 31 October 2016.
- There is no limit on the number of entries a single entrant can make. All entries will be considered anonymously by the judges.
- Postal entries will only be accepted when accompanied by an entry form (forms may be photo-copied). One entry form may cover multiple entries.
- Entries will not be returned, so please keep a copy.
- Under no circumstances can alterations be made to poems once entered.
- If you would like confirmation that your postal entry has been received, please include a stamped addressed envelope/postcard with your entry. Online entries made via the website will receive automatic confirmation at the time of submission.
- Telephone or email confirmation of receipt is not available. Poetry Society staff are unable to confirm the content of documents submitted online, so please ensure you send the correct version.
- The competition organisers reserve the right to change the judging panel without notice and not to award prizes if, in the judges’ opinion, such an action is justified.
- The judges read all the entries; their decision is final. Neither the judges nor Poetry Society staff will enter into any correspondence.
- No current employee or Trustee of The Poetry Society is eligible to enter the National Poetry Competition.
- All entries are judged anonymously and the poet’s name must not appear on the poem itself.
- All poems must have a title and must not exceed 40 lines in length (excluding title). Entries can be on any subject.
- Poems must be the entrant’s original work.
- Entries must not have been published, self-published, published on a website, broadcast or featured among the winners in another competition before 31 March 2017.
- Handwritten entries cannot be accepted. Postal entries should be typed and printed in black ink on A4 paper at a minimum type size of 12pt. Poems may span two pages but pages must not be double sided. Entries can be double or single spaced. Please do not staple pages.
- Entries must be written in English.
- The first poem submitted costs £6.50. Subsequent entries in the same submission cost £3.50 per poem. Poetry Society members (including those joining at time of submission) get a free second entry, with subsequent poems at £3.50.
- Payments must be made in £ sterling. Entries accompanied by payment in a currency other than £ sterling will not be accepted. Cheques, credit/debit cards and postal orders are accepted. Cheques should be made payable to The Poetry Society. Please write your name and phone number on the back of cheques.
- Prizewinners will be notified by the end of February 2017 and invited to an awards event in spring 2017. All winners will be expected to provide a biography and photograph.
- All entrants who provide a valid email address will be notified about the outcome of their entry by the end of March 2017.
- The copyright of each poem remains with the author. However, authors of the winning poems, by entering the competition, grant The Poetry Society the right in perpetuity to publish and/or broadcast their poem. Use of the poems elsewhere for one year from March 2017 is subject to permission from The Poetry Society.
The National Poetry Competition is one of the world’s biggest single poem competitions. The entry fee is £6.50 for your first poem, and £3.50 per poem thereafter. Members of The Poetry Society get a free second entry. The closing date is 31 October 2016.
“I felt a bit like Charlie opening his Wonka bar when I received word that I’d placed in the National Poetry Competition. I have greater faith now in my writing instincts and stand a little taller when I tell someone I’m a poet. I would encourage anyone who feels called to this art form to celebrate it by entering the National Poetry Competition.” – Carolyn Oxley, National Poetry Competition 2015 Third Prize Winner
Visit npc.poetrysociety.org.uk to enter online. You can enter your poems into our online form and pay securely by credit/debit card.
Entering by post
Download the competition entry form and post your complete form, poems and payment to:
The Poetry Society
22 Betterton Street